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Back-to-school insights for the fall of 2021

June 2021

  • Article
  • Retail
  • Seasonal trend

There’s no questioning the impact COVID-19 has had on education. Between schools closing, online teaching picking up, and hybrid learning approaches being implemented, we’ve been through numerous restructurings and changes over the past year. As vaccination rates continue to rise, COVID-19’s impact on U.S. schools is diminishing, and Microsoft Advertising Insights has the top trends you should consider as we near the back-to-school (BTS) frenzy about to unfold.

Elevated BTS activity is evident as students and teachers have resumed, or plan to return to in-person learning in the 2021-2022 academic year. Almost half of BTS shoppers plan to shop earlier this year, while also planning to spend more than last year. The increase in spending is most likely due to a longer-than-normal shopping list of BTS items, due to the pandemic. Top items that consumers will be searching for include writing materials, clothes, shoes, backpacks, and hygiene products (which will skyrocket in importance for BTS season due to the pandemic).

Nationwide, schools have either already reopened or plan to commence the new academic year in August fully in-person. Make sure you’re adjusting budgets and scaling spend accordingly over the next couple of months to meet this demand.

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